The Little Mister

Well, I figure it's about time that I wrote a new blog post, especially since I have such awesome news.

As you know, the last almost 5 years have not been the easiest on our family when it comes to getting a sibling for Abi.  We've had both chronic miscarriages and failed adoptions and all the heart ache that goes with that.  Don't get me wrong, our life was awesome and we had fun with the friends and family that were around us, but there was always something missing and always some hard days thrown in.

After our last adoption failed in November 2012 I received a blessing from my dad.  Brad had just canceled his flight out to us and switched it so that we could go home to him instead of him come out to us.  I was heart broken, and I think in a little bit of shock.  I needed some help and I'm so thankful I was with my dad.

It was one of the most powerful blessings I've ever had and I was promised some amazing things in it.  One of which was that I would be a mother again soon.  That Abi would somehow get a sibling.

As the months went on I kept reminding myself of that blessing.  I just had to be patient.  Things weren't going to happen on my time. Just wait.  But even knowing that didn't make it all that much easier.

Then one day I decided that maybe I wasn't doing enough on my part, that there was something else I should be doing to work for this baby.  In the past I had had a blood test done to check for clotting disorders.  it was a 3 part test and I had only had the first part done before we had to move from my dr, in Massachusetts.  I decided that maybe I needed to find a dr in Missouri to finish out the testing.  That maybe that could be the problem.

So while I was out running my errands I decided to grab a prego test at the dollar store just to make totally sure before I went to the hassle of trying to make this appointment.  I knew it would be negative, but it was only a buck, right?

I took it the next morning and I thought I was going to pass out.  I yelled for Brad and he came in and saw the little plus sign too.  We were overjoyed for a few minutes, and then the dread set in.  We couldn't loose another one.

I immediatly called the OBGYN that was just up the street and explained my history and the positive test to them.  They had me come in 15 minutes later to begin taking blood tests to check my levels.  Then I went in 2 more times that week for more test and an ultrasound.  At the end of the week I asked Brad for a blessing.  after that blessing we knew that everything would be alright, that this pregnancy would stick.

I continued to go in at least once every two weeks (sometimes more) until I was 12 weeks.  At that point my levels were great, the ultrasounds all looked fantastic and I had made it further than any other pregnancy (besides Abi of course) so the took me off of "high risk" status.  man, that was a good feeling.

At 17 weeks I convinced them to give me the gender ultrasound earlier then their policy allows since we were moving here to North Carolina and I would really like to know before we left.

It's a little Mr. Harding wiggling around in there.

I'm now 23 weeks along, due the first week of June, and everything is perfect.

I posted this pic earlier this week on Facebook and Instagram.  I had been looking back through old photos and found one from exactly a year earlier and decided to recreate it.

Left: Jan 31, 2013 - two months after our failed adoption not sure if we'd ever get another little. Right: Jan 31, 2014 - four months from welcoming little mr. to the family. #OhTheDifferenceAYearMakes #MiraclesHappen


Abi's first day

Today was Abi's first day of Kindergarten.  She says she had such a great day, but before we get to that you need to know about how the night before the first day of Kindergarten went.

At the school open house the nurse gave me a sheet of paper letting me know that we somehow got behind on Abi's immunizations and she had to have those 4 shots before she would be allowed to attend class. That gave me 2.5 business days to get her into a Dr. office.  And seeing as we've been here for less than a month, we still don't have our MO insurance together.  So the nurse gave me the number of the county health department and I could make an appointment to get the shots through them.

So, yesterday we hit up the zoo during the morning and then made it back "just in time" for her appointment.  Which means we only had to wait 1.5 hours instead of 2.  They give Abi the 4 immunizations in 2 shots and she didn't even cry!  I was so proud of her.  She did give the nurse a look that clearly said, "How dare you do that to me!?" after the first one, but she very quickly recovered.

We promised her that after dinner we would spend some time at the pool.  Which of makes her an hour late for bed.  She's been sleeping on the floor next to my and Brad's bed since my dad and step-mom are here visiting. So we finally got her to bed and the 4 grownups started the BBC Sherlock series (so good!) when about an hour in Abi walks out of the room and up to Brad and I.

Us: Hey honey.  What do you need?
Abi: with a dazed look on her face I just need...I want...I have to see something. walking over to and opening the coat closet
Brad: walking over to her while eating a pickle What is it?  What do you need in here?
Abi: blank look
Brad: Do you want a bite of pickle?
Abi: nods and takes a bite
Brad: Ok, so what do you need?
Abi: points at pickle
Brad: You need a pickle?
Abi: shakes head no then turns around and holds Brads hand while walking back to bed

She was totally sleep walking!  It was pretty awesome.

About 2:40 she woke Brad up with her moaning and complaining of a tummy ache.  So we took her temp and got her a bucket.  An hour later she threw up and slept horribly the rest of the night. So when 7 am showed up she wasn't too happy about it.  Thankfully by know her tummy felt ok, but she had a sore throat.  We had her gargle some salt water and she said she felt well enough to go to school.

So after getting her all ready and packing up her back pack we headed to the bus stop.

And missed the bus.

But apparently the bus stops on our side of the street, then drives down to the end, stops there and comes back and stops across the street from our normal stop.  So we were ok.

She was so cute!  I could tell that she was a little nervous, but mostly excited.  She just walked up the steps and asked the little girl on the front seat if she could sit by her. She told me later that she was "the last child to get on the bus" and she thought that was pretty cool.

While she was gone I spent the day at the Missouri Botanical Garden with dad and Brenda.  I missed her, but I know that once they're gone and I don't have the distraction I'm going to be a total mess :)

We got home just in time for the bus to drop her off.  She was so excited and wanted to tell us all about how it went.

So I interviewed her on this video.  She wasn't too happy about the video at first, but she warmed up pretty quick :)


It's after midnight and I should be asleep, but for some reason I just feel like I need to type.  To write what I'm feeling even if it is a little disjointed and rambling.

I feel like I have been blessed with an unusually happy disposition.  I can bounce back from disappointments and stresses fairy quickly, if they even get me down in the first place.  I am so thankful for that blessing,   But recently I've realized that it's ok to feel sad for a bit.  Because I used to not let myself.  I felt like because I'm a happy person I shouldn't ever feel sad. But it's ok to feel sad sometimes. Some days are just hard, you know.

Brad has been gone in St. Louis for 26 days.  He won't be home for another 6 and I miss him like crazy.  This is the longest we have ever been apart and I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure he's never gone this long again.  32 days is a really long time.  Most of the days it's been pretty ok.  Abi and I have had fun and I've loved spending time with her.  But some days are just hard, you know?

In just a few short weeks I will be moving, again.  I'm going to have to leave some of the best people I've even meet and have to make new friends all over again. Right as I was finally getting settled in this beautiful, history rich place. Some days I'm excited for the adventure but some days are just hard, you know?

This afternoon it hit me full in the face.  It has been 3 years and 10 months since my first miscarriage.  That's 4 years that we've been trying to get a little sibling here for Abi.  And you know what?  It totally sucks. It's been 46 months of disappointment. 5 miscarriages and two failed adoptions. Not to mention the two we had to refuse after the last one failed because we lost some much money on it we can't afford another for awhile. It's uncanny the way Abi can pick up on my moods and seems to know exactly why I'm feeling the way I am. Then they start to affect her too.  Today, out of the blue, she came up to me and told me the GPS could tell us how to get to the orphanage so we could get a sibling at our house.  At times it's harder to see the longing in Abi than it is to experience my own disappointment month after month. Some days are just hard, you know?

But guess what?

I get to wake up every morning and love on a sweet little 5 year old that is too smart for her own good.  I get to devote all my time to making sure she knows how much I love her and care for her and will always be there for her.  It always gets better.

I get to wake up every morning knowing that I have the most amazing husband in the world.  That he would do anything for our family. That he loves me unconditionally.  That he will say and do a hundred things that day to make me laugh and fall even more in love with him.  Even if it is over Facetime because he's 1200 miles away.  It always gets better.

I get to wake up every morning knowing that I have the most amazing friends and family a girl could ever want spread out (literally) from coast to coast.  Knowing that there are people that care about me and are willing to listen, even if I have nothing really to say.  It always gets better.

I get to wake up every morning knowing that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me more than I probably deserve. That He knows what's best for me and how much I can handle. That he has something spectacular in store for me and my little family if only I can be patient. It always gets better. 

I get to wake up knowing that I have a pretty amazing life.

Some days are hard, you know? But it always gets better.


Humans aren't nocturnal

Brad had to have a serious talk with Abi yesterday evening and she is now heart broken.

For the past 3ish weeks Abi has been waking up in the middle of the night. She would get out of bed, come into our room - sometimes wake us up, sometimes not - then go out to the family room and turn on a movie for herself.

The first few times it was just an hour or two before she normally wakes up, but it has been progressively getting earlier.  One night when she was in our room around 3am Brad asked her why she was waking up so early,

"Because I'm nocturnal.  See, its still dark outside, but I'm awake.  So I'm nocturnal."

We were just letting it slide because she didn't usually bother us and it wasn't really effecting her behavior during the day.  But lately she has been more whiny, back-talky and sassy.

So last night while we were getting ready for bed Brad told Abi he had something very serious to talk to her about.  She looked intently at him and asked what it was.

"Abi you can't be nocturnal anymore.  If you keep waking up at night you won't be able to go to preschool anymore.  People aren't nocturnal."

She was crushed.  There was much crying and gnashing of teeth.  But good news!  She slept in until 8:30 this morning!


How Abbi became Abi

I've had a few people lately ask if we changed the spelling of Abi's name. Short answer - yes we did.  Here's the little bit longer story.

After we decided on the name Abigail we had to decide how to spell her nickname.  There was Abbey, Abby, Abbie...the list could go on and on.  So one day I just made an executive decision and we went with Abbi.  No idea why I chose that.

And Abbi was working just perfectly for us until a few months ago when Abi learned her letters and their sounds.  One day while we were practicing writing her name she got really upset.  I finally got her to calm down and tell me what was the matter. "Mom!  My name is 'ab-ee' not 'ab-ba-ee'! You do it wrong and I hate it!  It only has one B!" (she's a bit dramatic most of the time). Ever since then she has been very adamant about it and gets mad every time we try it differently.

So that's the story about how Abbi became Abi.

Crazy girl.



So much has happened since the last time I updated this blog (and I'm finally feeling like I can write about it) that I'm not even sure where to begin.  I guess I'll just start at the very beginning. And just to warn you this will be very, very wordy and there will be no pictures. And there will probably be way more information than you wanted to know but I'm writing this more for me right now than for you :)

Everyone is given trials.  It doesn't matter who you are, you'll get a trial. It may be a trial of relatively short duration - like unemployment - or a trial that lasts your whole life - like a chronic illness. But no matter how long it lasts it's still going to be hard and you're still going to question why.

My hardest trial to date started back in 2009.  In late June of that year I found out that Brad and I were going to be parents again.  We were so excited! My life plan was going exactly as I wanted it to. I always wanted my children to be close in age and Abi had just turned one so the timing was almost perfect.  We were so excited we told our families almost right away.  But in late August I miscarried that baby.

I was devastated. At the time Abi was a fantastic sleeper - she was napping all but about 6 hours a day - so I went from having a ton of time to daydream and prepare to having hours of time to dwell and it became crushing.  I lost all motivation to do anything but blog stalk when I was alone and pretend that everything was ok when people were around.

A few weeks later I visited my sister and her family.  While I was there we came up with the idea for my blog So You Think You're Crafty.  That gave me the motivation to focus on something and work my way out of my depression.

Things were great for a while after that.  In fact, in early January we found out I was pregnant again!  This time we were a little more hesitant to tell anyone right away.  There were a few family members and close friends we told, but for the most part we kept it a secret.  We were glad we did when the week of Easter I had another miscarriage.  This time it was a little easier for me to handle.  I was heartbroken, yes, but it wasn't a crushing depression like it was the first time.

A few weeks after this second miscarriage I was watching Studio5 and saw a segment they did that featured a medial study that the UofU was conducting on low dose aspirin and it's effects on fertility and early pregnancy loss.  I called the university and was approved to take part right away.  I don't know if I was in the control group or on the aspirin, but either way I got pregnant about 5 months into the study.  But this miscarriage was pretty quick in coming.

And so was the next pregnancy.  By now I had enough of a "history" to start working with a pregnancy loss specialist.  So I was having almost weekly appointments and ultrasounds from almost day one.  He seemed very optimistic   Everything was looking exactly as it should.  He said it was a "perfect pregnancy."  The next week we got to go it to hear the heart beat.  So exciting!!  I got up on the table and they rubbed the goop all over my belly, but then - silence.  The doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong.  Everything looked just as it should.  He thought that maybe we were just a week off on our dates so he had me come back the next week, but there was still nothing at that appointment too.  We scheduled a d&c for the next day. At my follow up appointment I was still having pain and other issues so they scheduled a second d&c for a few days in the future.

This all happened in December of 2010.  I just over a year I had had 4 miscarriages - the last ending in 2 d&c's.  The doctor told us to stop trying for a pregnancy for the next 9-12 months.  To let my body have a rest to heal and return back to normal.

Within a month of the doctor telling us that Brad and I were working with LDS Family Services for an adoption.  We had always wanted to adopt - we just figured it would be later rather than sooner.  In May of 2011 we were approved and posted on their website.

Then in May of this year one of my young women here in the ward found herself pregnant.  She asked if Brad and I would adopt her baby and we agreed.  We tried not to get to attached because non of her family was in support of placement so we knew that it may not go through.  But when you want something so badly it's hard not to get excited.  She told us a few months later that she had decided to keep the baby.  She and the father were married this past August and their little boy was born the day after Thanksgiving.  We were sad that we would not be that babies family, but also very happy that things were able to be worked out for that amazing woman.

And right about the time that we started to realize that placement would not be going through I was contacted by a friend that had just adopted a 7 month old boy a few months earlier.  Their birth mom was pregnant with a little girl and was going to place her for adoption as well.  My friends were unable to take her, but were wondering if we would be willing.  This little girl and the little boy they were placed with are full blooded siblings.  If we were to take the girl the children would be able to grow up knowing their sibling.  We agreed and started working with the agency out of Las Vegas.

We were able to talk with the birth mom on the phone every couple weeks and started to get to know her.  We were so grateful to her and the sacrifice she was making for us.  We decided on the name Cora and started planning for her to join our family.  It was so surreal.

In August I suffered my fifth miscarriage.  It was just as heart breaking as the others, but this time it was tempered with the knowledge that soon a little one would be joining our family.  Soon Abi would have a sibling.

Then it came time for the birth of little Cora.  The birth mom had a history of early deliveries so they advised me to come out about 4 weeks early.  So, Abi and I flew into Salt Lake to spend a few weeks with family.  Brad would join us as soon as he got word he needed to be there too.

Just over two weeks later I got a call from our case worker.  It was the day they estimated that she would go into early labor so I thought it was the call to head down as soon as possible.  Boy, was I wrong.  The birth mom had changed her mind.  She was having some concerns and didn't think she could go through with another placement. The agency had given her 3 days to make a final decision so they would be getting in touch with us.

Again I was crushed.  It was like that first miscarriage all over again.  I just sat and bawled and bawled on my dads couch.  Once Abi caught on to what was going on she would say things like, "But mom, just call the lady and tell her how much I want a sister, then she'll remember and say sorry and give us baby Cora."  It was heart breaking.  Brad and I decided to call a family/friend fast for the next day.  We weren't  exactly hoping for a miracle (though we wouldn't turn one down), but at least some comfort and understanding. Later that night my dad gave me the most amazing blessing I have ever received.  As it closed I felt so strongly that no matter how this all played out the Lord knows me and my desires, the He loves me and that he hasn't forsaken me or my little family.

At the end of the 3 days I got another call from the case worker.  She, a little fantically, told me that the birth mother was back on board.  And not only that, but she was in labor!  What!?!  So I jumped online, bought Brad a plan ticket, hopped in the car with Abi and my dad and headed down to Vegas.

Once we got down there we found out that the labor was unproductive so they sent her home to wait for the real thing. Since we were there already though we were able to meet the birth mom for lunch and go over and resolve her concerns.  Brad and I were so happy that things were back on, but we still tried to keep a damper on things.  She had already changed her mind once and she still had 72 hours after birth to do it again.  But we were still excited and went about planning and getting ready. Over the next week we went to a few of the doctors appointments with the birth mom an got to know her better.  I will never forget those days and will always hold a special place in my heart for that woman.

After almost 2 weeks in Vegas (Brad had flown home after a week) Abi, my step-mom and I decided to head back up to Utah for Halloween and we would come back down as quickly as we could once real labor started.  But what do you know, another 2 weeks went by.  Just our luck that this pregnancy would be the one she would go full term.

We got the call on a Wednesday that they would be inducing labor the next Monday at 6 pm.  We call and got Brad a flight for that weekend and started to get really excited.  In just about 5 days we would be meeting our new little girl.

Thursday afternoon the case worker called again.  The birth mother had sent a text message saying she couldn't go through with the placement and was not responding to any emails, texts or phone calls from the agency trying to get hold of her.  They advised us to hold tight for a day, but if they still hadn't heard anything to  head home and try to move on.  By Saturday night Abi and I were back home in Boston.

It's hard to describe the feelings I have about how things worked out.  I can't blame the birth mother.  It's the hardest decision I'm sure she has ever had to make and I will never be able to under stand it.  But I'm heart broken.  I feel this loss just as much as I do the loss of our miscarriages.  But this is different.  Many times I think to myself, "I'm a good person.  I do what is asked of me.  When will this trial be taken from me.  When will we be blessed with another child?"  That blessing my dad gave me has been what I've fallen back to over and over again over the past few weeks when things just get too hard.

God does know me.  He loves me.  He knows the deepest desires of my heart.  He also knows that I'm a strong woman; that I can do this and come out stronger.  And I know that's true.  I know it with every little piece of my being.  I know that someday, somehow this trial will be lifted.  And when it is, I will be that much  better a tool in His hand to serve others through their trials. And when that time does come I will be all the more grateful for all that I have been blessed with.


Sleepy Girl

"Mom. Will you take a picture of me resting?" Man, I love this girl!


Fish and the City

Yesterday I was gone all day long helping the young women with their girls camp fundraiser - a car wash.  It turned out to not be as lucrative for us. After a week of crazy hot weather it rained all night and up until an hour before the car wash started so no one was really in the mood to have their car washed.

Brad & Abbi, however, had a fabulous day.

They decided to ride the train into Boston to buy Abbi a fish at a fun pet shop in town.  It was Abbi's first time on a train and she loved it.  Here are a few of the pictures Brad took of the day on his phone.

Waiting at the Canton Station for the train

At the bus stop for the connection to the pet shop.

She loves looking at the fish and turtles.  Too bad they wouldn't let Brad take pictures in the bird room.  The parrot that said "hello" was her favorite.

Samson the dog had so much fur!

They had some time before the train back home so they spent it at the Boston Library across the street from the station.  Abbi loved the fountain in the courtyard.  She wished for a little brother :)

There was a bride having her pictures taken on the front steps.  Abbi had to be silly and pose, too.  Don't worry, she didn't get in any of the pictures, but everyone thought she was adorable.
Cashing pigeons at Copley Square.  She was determined to catch one.

Posing for a picture on the train ride home.  She's so silly.


Our Crazy December

On our drive to Cleveland for Thanksgiving we got a call from Brad's work telling us we were being transferred to Louisville Kentucky to help that office with sales and building the clientele since it was so new.  That told us we could choose when to go and we chose before Christmas.  We figured it would just be easier that way.  So we had 12 days from the time we got home from Sue's until we had to leave for Kentucky.  I packed up the house while Brad was covering a store and when he got home we took off.    We got Abbi's toys off the truck first thing so that she could play with her animals and watch some shows while we finished unloading.  Abbi was really good about the whole thing.  She still misses Rachel, Kaitlyn, Cari & Elder Ashby and asks about them all the time, but she has adjusted really well.

Once we were somewhat settled in we took off for Cleveland again, this time for Christmas.  We had a very laid back weekend and loved it.  Apparently we were having too much fun. I had no time to take any pictures :)

Thanksgiving Time

In Minnesota we were only a 12 hour drive from my sisters family in Cleveland so I went and visited 3 times while we lived there.  We were really lucky for Thanksgiving.  Brad was assigned to cover the Cleveland store the week after Thanksgiving so we had an excuse to stay longer.  My dad flew out to spend the time with us too.  It was so much fun.  I didn't get many pictures, but I do have pictorial evidence of of my dad playing kick ball in the front yard.  It was awesome.